Finding the person you want to spend forever with is such an incredible experience, and it’s one you’ll likely want to share with your closest friends and family. These are the people who have helped shape who you are, so it’s natural to want them involved in such an exciting occasion! Unfortunately, life doesn’t always allow our closest loved ones to stick around for every celebration.
So how can you include and honor a late loved one in your fairytale? For some, it takes thoughtful planning to honor them in a proposal, and other times they’re present from the very start of a relationship. Whatever the case may be, these touching excerpts are our favorite examples of the dearly departed making their way into a love story.
“A few months after meeting Spencer, things took a turn for the worse. My dad had been living with cancer for five years at that point, and in October, the doctors told us there was nothing else they could do. I felt like my life was over – I couldn’t even begin to imagine life without him. I told Spencer he didn’t have to stick around as we’d only been dating for four months, but he stood by my side and cared for me and my dad through the worst moments of our lives. My dad ended up loving Spencer and I knew he wanted to see him become a part of the family. I also knew he wanted to see us engaged before he passed, but I didn’t want to ask anything more of Spencer. When the doctors told us how much time he had, my dad said he wanted to take one last trip together. He picked Disneyland and so of course, when were were there, we went in front of the castle and took tons of family photos. At the end of the pictures, in front of everyone, Spencer grabbed my hands and turned me to face him. I went numb. I knew what was coming, and I could not believe he was making my (and my dad’s) dream come true… The next day, we made the long drive home back to Oregon, and that morning, as unexpected as anything, my daddy passed on into heaven…” – Melea and Spencer
“Our favorite park has the California Firefighters Memorial in it. It’s a limestone wall is full of names of firefighters who have died in the line of duty — and it includes my father’s name. A few weeks ago, we went to dinner near the park and Ryan suggested we walk through it on our way back to the car. As we approached the wall, I saw all these beautiful candles on the ground. My first thought was that someone must have come by to honor their loved one too, but then I saw a familiar face poking out from around the corner with her camera in hand. I immediately figured out what was going on and when I turned back to Ryan, he was down on one knee in front of my dad’s name and asking if we could spend the rest of our lives together…” – Molly and Ryan
“My mother passed away 5 years ago. My family and I felt it was very important to “bring her home” so we spread her ashes at a beautiful resting place we all picked out together with a view of the Matterhorn in Switzerland. Fast forward a few years and that’s where Wade proposed. I was so excited to finally take him to Switzerland and go on the hike to visit my mom’s resting place. When we finally got there (it’s not an easy journey) Wade got on one knee and with the most beautiful, well thought out and meaningful words…he asked me to marry him!” – Sandy and Wade
“In October, my younger sister passed away suddenly. Our world was turned upside down with the indescribable grief of her loss. Marcus never left my side and held me up in the darkest days of my life. He showed me an unconditional amount of love that I didn’t know was possible. After she passed, I started to see her birth date 7/13 everywhere. I would see it on the clock or as my total at the drive through. It would be written on the TV or on documents for work. In January, we took a trip to Punta Cana to escape the harsh winter of Cleveland. As we waited on the beach for our dinner reservation, Marcus asked a stranger to take our picture in the pavilion we were sitting in. As I was posing for a picture, Marcus got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. The stranger took a couple photos and then congratulated us. When we got back to our room to send the pictures to our parents, we noticed that each picture was taken at 7:13. I had instant chills and we both started to cry. It was perfect in every way knowing my sister just gave us her blessing from heaven.” – Becky and Marcus
“I had pretty much written off the idea of ever getting married after my dad died since he couldn’t walk me down the isle. The thought of it always hurt too much, but that all changed when Brian came along. I truly believe that God and my dad had been working their magic when they brought him into my life. We’d met not long after my dad passed away, but didn’t officially have our first date until two years to the day of his passing, August 27th, 2016. We visited the cemetery on a very non-traditional first date, and I explained everything about our special bond and got to tell him just how amazing of a father my dad was. I never believed when people said, “When you know, you know”, but after this first date of ours, I knew that this was my future husband. Fast forward to May 6th, 2017. Brian asked if we could go to the cemetery – something I never say no to. My mom was planning on being there too, but I didn’t think anything of it because she visits my dad daily. We spent some time reminiscing about my dad together, and then so unexpectedly, Brian dropped down on one knee.” – Brian and Monika
“As a backstory, Ethan and I have both experienced great loss during the 3 years we have been together. My dad passed away just before we started dating, his grandpa passed about 6 months ago, and most recently, I lost my brother. We have seen each other at our lowest points and have physically held each other up when we needed it most. We both have a strong understanding of where our loved ones are and now more than ever, we believe in signs from heaven. For me, those signs have been monarch butterflies – I see them EVERYWHERE. They have landed on my car, my bedroom window and they’ve literally circled me before. They are a constant reminder that heaven is so close to us we just have to choose to see it. So, a few months ago, we decided to go to our Botanical Gardens. We began walking down a little rocky path and I started seeing lanterns with candles in them. There was also a big gift bag sitting on a rock that Ethan told me to open up. Inside was a note from him and from my mom along with a box of live monarch butterflies (cue tears). At this point I ugly crying and not realizing that he’s already down on one knee. I open up the box of butterflies and they all fly out as he asks me to marry him…” – Ethan and Laurel
“Right after my Dad passed, I prayed and prayed for him to come visit me, so I could feel his presence one more time. Three days later… he came to me in a dream. I call it a dream because thats the best way to describe it (I’m having chills writing this!) but it was so real, I felt like he was truly with me again. He sat on the side of my bed, leaned over and kissed my side which I felt “woke me up”. I knew in my dream he was there, with me, letting me know he was ok. He looked so young and handsome and healthy. I’ll never forget it. I had this odd feeling my time with him was short and I started to sense he was starting to leave me, and I said to him “Dad wait. Before you go, I need you to do something to for me. Will you make sure I fall in love and find my soulmate.” Somehow in my dream, he showed me a phone. And on it, I will NEVER forget this!! He showed me a picture of this man who’s face I don’t remember perfectly, but he had dark hair and light brown eyes. And that was it, I woke up and just cried and said “thank you” out loud. I knew he was there with me one last time.” – Alyssa and Will
“Early on in our relationship, Jack said he knew he was going to marry me, and so before my grandfather passed away, he asked him for my hand in marriage. He also asked him for the name “Solivan” (my family’s surname). When Jack first told me he wanted to change his last name to mine one day, I was confused because I never thought of that as an option. He explained to me that he had zero relationship with his father who had been a “ghost” in his life and didn’t uphold the meaning or responsibility of a father. He did not want to carry on that name. After meeting and spending time with my family, and especially my grandfather, he fell in love with our family and respected the man my grandfather was–and particularly how he held our family together– so that was the name Jack wanted to represent our family. It was literally the most romantic thing I have ever heard and opened my eyes to what love is.” – Jacqueline and Jack
“According to Joe, he told his family back in December 2016 that he was going to propose sometime in the fall of 2017. He had plans of asking my dad for permission a few months later which was extremely important to me. Unfortunately, my dad passed away very unexpectedly at the end of December, and he never got the chance which absolutely devastated us… We all wrote a message to my dad on our lanterns including Joe. After the fact, I learned that Joe was trying to write, “Mr. Ray, Do I have your permission to marry your daughter?” on his lantern, but he never had the chance since I was always around… Once we started releasing the lanterns, Joe asked me to hold his with him. I was a little confused because I kept insisting on taking pictures of him doing so. Right before it was time to let go of the lantern, he told me to hold it for a second alone, and then he got down on one knee.” – Alexa and Joe
“He got down on one knee and the rest was a teary blur for me. After he said that he loved me and said a few other things that I couldn’t remember, I heard the words, “Will you marry me?” and after a few seconds of catching my breath, I nodded yes, and our friends and family began cheering and applauding. When I took the chance to look at the ring, I noticed first how beautifully sparkly it was, and immediately recognized the center diamond. Phil said, “Your father gave this diamond to your mother…” and all of my tears came rushing back! The diamond on my ring was given to my mother by my father for their fifth wedding anniversary, celebrating the beginning of their lives as parents as an addition to her beautiful emerald wedding ring. Being the only girl in my family, I was a total daddy’s girl growing up and he and I were very similar which made us very close. My dad passed away when I was 16 after a few years of battling cancer, so every piece of him that I have means so much to me… Phil and I had talked about rings and settings in the past, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have such a beautiful, meaningful piece of jewelry that would remind me both of my dad who is such a huge part of me, while being a gift from the man that I have been so lucky to find as my soulmate.” – Morgan and Philip
“My dad passed away a few years ago and my Mom and I scattered his ashes off the coast of a few beaches on Oahu. My dad was a pilot and when I was little we would always fly around and he would point out rainbows. Justin and I always talked about visiting Hawaii together so he could see where I was from as well as where my Dad was from since he never got to meet him. On a beautiful clear day before sunset Justin and I were walking on a beach on Oahu and out above the ocean a rainbow appeared. Justin pointed it out, got down on his knee and proposed right there. It was like my Dad was there with us. It was perfect!” – Ashley and Justin
“On our first date, Cody went all out to impress me–and he did. We didn’t go on your normal first date, we had a private paint-your-own canvas night, then we went to a rooftop dinner, stringed lights included, and finally went to a local shaved ice place. When you ask Cody what he remembers most about our first date and he would say two things. First, texting his dad our picture and getting a reply of “she’s pretty” and second, being able to tell his mom all about our date, including his statement, “Mom, I think she’s the one.” Those two things probably wouldn’t have meant that much to most people, but the next day his parents left for a vacation. On their way back, Cody’s world was turned upside down– he had received word that his parents were in a serious car accident. After knowing him for such a short time, Cody was still comfortable enough to call me that night and ask me to pray for his parents. The 24 hours that followed were hard and filled with the saddest news I have ever heard–his parents didn’t make it. My heart broke in places I didn’t know I had. I was confused. Why did it bother me so much? Yes, this news would be sad had it been anyone, but why was I taking it so hard? I didn’t know the answer, but I knew God had a reason for putting me in Cody’s life when He did. I promised to be there for Cody, and in the moments of being there for him, I was able to see a glimpse of the strongest man I will ever know. I have heard countless stories about Cody’s parents, and I know that even though I never met them, they would be beyond proud of the man Cody has become. They raised their little boy to be a man that loves with all of his heart, treats women with respect, values family, and knows the power of faith in God–and I get to be his forever.” – Cody and Ashliegh
“August 5th is my grandmother’s (who I was very close with and she had passed away) birthday. Knowing I would be sad, Nick had a whole day planned of fun activities that would ‘help get my mind off of things’… After dinner he had asked if I wanted to take a walk around our old campus, Penn State Behrend. Our graduating year they had a monument built and they offered the chance to buy a brick to forever be a part of campus. We periodically go to campus and check out our brick. When we got to the monument, I went to look for our brick and Nick told me to look at a brick that must have come out of the ground. I turned around and he handed me a brick. I turned it over and it said ‘Will you marry me? 8/5/17′” Niky and Nick
“Once I had placed the order for her ring, we had found out that her dog Lexi had cancer. Summer had many difficult moments growing up and often times Lexi was the only thing she had to turn to. Her dog meant the world to her. I knew it would be important to include Lexi in the proposal but feared she wouldn’t make it in time, so I got the jewelry box and set up a photo shoot with Lexi asking her for permission to marry Summer and taking pictures with the ring box and Lexi. Shortly after, Lexi passed away. I then wrote our story out and made a picture book, and at the end of the book I wrote that there was one person who was particularly excited to see us get married and that was Lexi, and included the pictures we had taken… She had absolutely no idea that the proposal was coming, and the pictures of Lexi in particular meant the world to her. It couldn’t have been more perfect and of course, she said yes!” – Sumer and Adam
“My dad, Frank suggested that Max and I go under an arch to take a picture. There happened to be a bench, so we sat down while our families huddled around in a semi circle directly in front of us. Max immediately reached into his pocket and pulled out a box. I put everything together and realized what was happening and I swear I blacked out. Max told me that he knew this day (December 23rd) was a particularly difficult day for me and he wanted it to be one that I would always remember for a happy reason. December 23, 2015 was the day we laid my dad, Carl, to rest after his 4 month battle with cancer. I immediately burst into tears. He went on to talk about how special this spot was to me and he knew how I always wanted to have a romantic winter date there and he thought what a perfect occasion. He pulled the ring out, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him and my immediate response was, “ARE YOU SERIOUS?!” After lots of tears, and hugging there was an obvious, “Yes!”” – Kristina and Max
“I never thought it would take losing my best friend to find another. I also never planned on the worst day of my life turning into what will be my greatest, and lead to even more spectacular moments. Brandon told me that Sara Park girl was wife material. It’s something I never listened to until he was no longer there to keep giving me advice. On one of the only nights I wasn’t with Brandon, I lost him. Only three days before my 21st birthday, my best friend died in his sleep. That’s when the phone calls, texts, and messages of support kept my phone on a constant vibration. These names I knew from stories and only knew me the same way, but now, all of a sudden, losing our only connection is what brought us together.Brandon is who brought me and Sara together, and the one that keeps us together. Extra help is necessary when you’re in a relationship with someone four hours away. Like a guardian angel when Sara is in a car accident with a semi-truck during one of her four-hour trips to see me. Almost losing another best friend is what made me realize I wanted her in my life forever. And so on November 22nd, I got down on one knee to make that happen, and on June 16, 2018, it will happen.” – Sara and Dekota
Have your own story to tell us! Share your proposal story here.